Monday, October 29, 2007

Do we really need this waste?

One of the things my main client in Houston decided to do was pick up the rent on the apartment we were using out here, which certainly does give me more space to spread out in. So I got back to the apartment last night, and there was a phonebook sitting here.

I had to stretch my brain to think of the last time I've used a phonebook. A quick search on the Internet, or mobile Google Maps, and I can pretty much find whatever I want. How many times a month/year do people actually still use phonebooks?

With all this focus on outlawing plastic bags and the like, how about changing phonebook delivery to opt-in? Just a thought.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Five

Before I get to the normal nonsense, I wanted to write out a couple of quick updates.

Karin and I, as well as the rest of our family are perfectly safe. Thank you all for your concern. My recent trip, outside of the one frustrating student, was just fine. I do intend to post on my travels, but as of right now I'm feeling a tad lazy. So here's five things about me that are driven by my laziness:

  1. Drinking black coffee. I always used to take cream and sugar, until eventually I got too lazy to put it in my coffee in the morning. So now it's just black.
  2. I often don't tie my shoes. I never do when I'm leaving for work - I can do it when I get there. As for the rest of life, I just simply don't tie them.
  3. I got contacts that I can leave in for a week because I'm too lazy to take them out at night. When I'm ready to sleep I just want to collapse in bed.
  4. I'm so lazy, I only feel like coming up with 3.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hurricanes vs Fires

Just as an FYI...

I don't know if anyone has seen the news recently, but there have been some very serious fires in Southern California, including a big one in San Diego County. I just wanted to mention that we are just fine. We live rather central in the city of San Diego; if the fire ever actually got to us, well, all of San Diego would be hosed.

So we're perfectly safe.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Five

This week has been extremely tough on me. My class has included quite possibly the most difficult student I've ever had to deal with, which is, unfortunately, one of the hazards of the job.

Which got me to thinking - why not do a Friday Five on the 5 things I like most about being a trainer.

  1. Friday always comes. This is easily my favorite part. No matter what happens, how bad a class goes, there is always an end. I used to work with a trainer early on in my career who served as a mentor to me. He compared Fridays to a Vegas dealer clearing their hands as they walk away from a table - they clap their hands, quick wave, and leave it all behind.
  2. I'm not on call. I've never had to answer the phone at 2a from a frantic manager or boss who has to learn T-SQL right now!
  3. There is something very cool about helping someone learn a new skill. Watching a student realize something or grok something is truly special.
  4. Instant gratification. I know immediately when I've done a good job, and I love being lavished in student's praise.
  5. It gives me a chance to play with technology. The reason I became a computer geek of any variety in the first place is because I truly love technology. And that feeling has never left me.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

3-3 and Looking Up

I believe it was Bill Parcells who used to split the season up into 4 mini-seasons. His thought was to chop the season up into more manageable chunks, and to give yourself good points to reflect, see where you are, and implement any necessary changes. I tend to agree with this thinking, but the bye weeks certainly provide a certain marker of their own.

The Chargers are currently 3-3, and winners of their last two as they enter their. They are tied for first in the slumping AL West, however they're essentially a half game behind since the Chiefs did beat them in their first match-up. Considering how terrible they looked during their 3 straight losses, and how sharp they've looked during their last two wins, the Chargers have managed to build some pretty good momentum. The defense is starting to turn the corner, only giving up 10 points in their last 2 games (the other TD by Oakland was an interception return). Their offense has finally found itself, and Norv has realized that number 21 guy they have is pretty good.

I was feeling pretty good about the Chargers until Tuesday. Now I'm jazzed. On that Tuesday the Chargers traded a second round pick for 2008 to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for Chris Chambers. I don't think the impact of this trade can be overstated.

Without a doubt the two biggest holes in the Chargers is their secondary and their receiving corps. In the past, the Chargers were able to cover the first with a good pass rush, and the second by at least having serviceable receivers. Unfortunately, with Eric Parker injuring his right big toe to the point he wound up on the IR, and Keenan McCardell being released, our only two serviceable receivers were unavailable.

Enter Chris Chambers, a former Pro-Bowler who has played under Norv and is familiar with the offense. This threat will open things up for Gates, Tomlinson, and make life easier for the offensive line since defenses must now respect both the pass and the run.

We've got momentum. We've got a week to heal up. We're tied for the division lead. And our offense is notably better. And the fact that I have Chambers on my fantasy team only makes this even sweeter.

Color me a happy Chargers fan.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Back in San Diego

First - I did not get a Friday Five up; just too busy. Will resume this upcoming Friday.

In the mean time, Karin and I did make it successfully back to San Diego (although I am in Houston as I type this). The trip was fairly straight forward.

Day one got us to Fort Stockton, which was where we stopped on our way out. Or at least, that's where we wanted to stop. When we got there, we couldn't find any vacancy - apparently there was some sort of convention/festival/something there. Anyway, we trekked on to Van Horn, TX - about 120mi past Fort Stockton. Granted, we were rather miserable while doing the extra 120, but it turned out to be a blessing as it made the rest of the trip that much easier.

Day two got us to Gila Bend, AZ, also where we stopped on the way out. We had done the Best Western previously, but remembered that it was next to a very busy set of railroad tracks, so we decided to try elsewhere. The only national chain that we recognized was the Travelodge. Now, all we really wanted was a clean room to crash in. That was too much to ask for, apparently. The room itself was very run down, and the towels were badly stained. We quickly informed the front desk we weren't going to stay there (to no objection from the front desk - they must be used to this) and ran back to the Best Western.

We were back in San Diego by 1p. I was in my chair by 1:15p.

Again, thanks to everyone for your support. This has certainly been an adventure. We will continue to keep everyone up to date here (as well as my normal nonsense.)

Monday, October 8, 2007

And if we don't like our lives

Just wait 5 minutes and it will change.

I showed up for work this morning - no students. Turns out they all had to cancel. I now had a down week.

As such, Karin and I decided - let's just start driving Tuesday. So come about 10 hours from now, we're heading west back to San Diego.

I hope to keep updates coming if possible.

Until then, sleep well and dream of large women.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

You can never go home again, Oatman

... but I guess you can shop there.

(Bonus points for the first comment by someone who can name the movie without having to search the Internet (aka - cheat))

I don't know who's heard and who hasn't, but one of the reasons this blog exists is to keep people up to date - so here goes....

Karin and I are headed back to San Diego.

There's a long list of reasons why we're dong this, but it basically comes down to the uncertainty of the housing market. We just don't know if/when we're going to be able to sell the house, and at what kind of a loss.

So, come Oct 21 (or so) Karin and I will be packing up and heading back to San Diego.

I am going to start contracting (which means I'm going to be traveling quite a bit), and Karin will be looking for a job.

While we're disappointed that it didn't work out, we are pleased to be heading back as well. We've learned a lot from this experience, and it certainly has been good for us. It's shaken up both of our lives, taking us both out of our comfort zones. So in the end, this will be a good experience.

In the mean time, we thank everyone for your support and prayers.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

How about a description?

I'm not sure how many brewers are going to read this, but...

I rather enjoy beer. As such, I love trying new beers from all sorts of different microbreweries. The one thing I will never understand is why small breweries often don't have any description of the beer on the bottle.

Any beer drinker will tell you there is a large variation between styles of beer. While an IPA will normally be hoppier than say a Pale Ale and lighter than say a Brown Ale, there are still differences between different brewers' interpretations.

As a result, when I grab a six-pack of some unknown brewery, it would be nice to have a description. I understand that a label doesn't give you a lot of room, but you have a whole box. A simple 2 sentence description of the beer: Hoppiness, kinds of hops, color, flavor, approachable, intense, aromas, something! And on a personal note, if there's a story behind the recipe, maybe a quick description there as well.

If you want me to buy your beer, tell me what to expect.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Everybody's doing it...

Marion Jones is famous for whipping everyone on the track and having one of the cutest smiles of all time. She's also famous for denying any steroid use, despite her connection to BALCO; denials that even went so far as to include a red-letter page in her book denying ever using something illegal.

And now she's famous for being an admitted cheater.

Of course, she's also claiming that at first she didn't know what she was actually rubbing on herself, stating she thought it was flaxseed oil - which apparently has magical powers beyond any comprehension. If flaxseed oil had half of the impact on a body that athletes seem to believe, they'd all be bathing in it.

Whenever someone tests positive, this immediately brings up the argument of, "Well, everybody in <insert sport here> is doing it." That argument didn't work with my mother when I was 6, and it doesn't work today.

My first simple question is this - what are we basing that statement on? What proof is being offered that "everybody" (or even a majority or significant number) is doing it? Nothing more than conjecture.

Floyd Landis, Ben Johnson, and Marion Jones are all proven illegal performance enhancing drug users. They all dominated their respective sport's premier events in ways previously unimaginable. This implies to me that either their drug of choice gave them a large edge over the field, or their competitors need to get better "doctors". Seems to me the reason they were so successful is they were playing with a different set of rules than their competitors.

The other argument to try and excuse this cheating is they still need to be world class athletes in the first place, or typically shortened as "Steroids don't make you hit home runs."

I'm pretty sure I ended my short Little League career with a perfect .000 average. I am under no disillusion that injecting my derriere with any cocktail of steroids is going to magically give me the skills to make it to the majors. I'm not saying that a certain slugger who is surrounded by rumors isn't an amazingly talented player. But to argue that taking steroids doesn't enhance your skill, or make that ball that would have had warning track power wouldn't now clear the wall, is ludicrous. Steroids help. Why else would athletes risk potential health problems if not for the edge they gain?

None of these excuses makes cheating in any way acceptable. It's time to abandon that faulty logic.

Friday Five

I'm not exactly sure what made me think of this, but this week I will be doing a list of little peeves I have in every day life.

  1. Servers at a nice restaurant who insist on pouring water with the glass still on the table. No matter how neat you are there is always a little splash. The proper way is to take the glass, turn around, fill it, and then present a full glass.
  2. Having someone blow their nose at the table. Sorry, but this just drives me crazy.
  3. Drivers who don't signal when making a turn. I don't care about lane changes, but if you slow down in front of me and don't signal that you're about to make a right you need to be smacked.
  4. People talking during movies and TV shows. I like to be able to concentrate and catch all the little nuances. Plus, I find that people have a bad habit of talking right during a crucial moment.
  5. Bad cell phone etiquette - specifically people who don't turn off their cell phones during class. At least once every 2 weeks a cell phone will go off during class. On top of that, about once a month I will have a student answer their phone and start a conversation during class. How rude can a person be?

Ok - done venting now. ;-)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Local flavor

Karin happened to be flipping through a Houston magazine and saw an ad for Gator Fest. We realized immediately we had to go check it out.

As it turns out, it was really just a local fair, but it was still a good time to see a local fair in small town Texas. The air boat ride was a blast, and gator sure is tasty. Karin also enjoyed holding the baby gator. If you want pics, you can see them here.